Wednesday, November 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Badungar re-elected SGPC chief
Wins by 23 votes *Mann group abstains
*Votes of 12 debarred members not counted
Prabhjot Singh and Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 12
True to expectations, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar and other SAD nominees won hands down in the SGPC elections held in the presence of two observers of the state government here today.

A curfew like situation created by the strong deployment of the security forces in the walled city notwithstanding, no SGPC member experienced difficulty in reaching Teja Singh Samundari Hall, the SGPC headquarters, where Prof Badungar defeated Sant Vir Singh Madhoke, put up by a seven-member committee, in the presidential election of the SGPC. He was defeated by 23 votes. Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, Mr Kewal Singh Badal and Mr Hardalbir Singh Shah, all of the SAD, were elected unopposed as Senior Vice-President, Junior Vice-President and General Secretary of the SGPC, respectively.

The observers — Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta and Mr Daljit Singh Chhina — monitored the proceedings closely. The appointment of the observers was solicited by the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC).

The votes cast by 12 members, debarred earlier by the SGJC and allowed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to attend the meeting, were sealed in a separate envelope and were not counted towards the result. One member, Mr Bhagat Singh, could not attend the meeting. Four Akali Dal (Amritsar) members, who attended the meeting, abstained from voting.

Except for minor skirmishes among members of warring groups, the meeting which continued from 1 p.m. to 4.45 p.m., went off smoothly. Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the SAD (Amritsar), and three other SGPC members of his group not only abstained from voting, but also decried the growing influence of the BJP and the Congress on the main groups in the fray.

The result appeared to be a foregone conclusion after Mr Parkash Singh Badal, defying police orders, entered the SGPC complex yesterday with his 103-member group. The margin of victory would have been different but for those 12 votes which had been sealed.

“Panth di jeet, Congress di haar” (triumph of the Panth and defeat of the Congress) was the instant reaction of Mr Parkash Singh Badal who had constantly claimed the support of 103 SGPC members in an effective House of 176.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra accepted the “defeat”, saying that the seven-member committee supported by him fought on principles. “We have triumphed in the sense that against 56 votes polled by us in the last elections, we got 68 this time. These votes are minus the four votes of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar)”, he said.

Bibi Jagir Kaur, a former SGPC chief, said the victory “reiterates that Mr Parkash Singh Badal is the real leader of Punjab in general and Sikhs in particular. The victory is all the more credible as it has been achieved against the entire might of the Congress government in the state”.

Both the SAD (Amritsar) and the SHSAD had held meetings this morning to discuss their strategies. At one stage, the Tohra faction was planning to field Sant Mitha Singh but after Mr Mal Singh Ghuman of the seven-member committee said Mr Tohra would propose the name of the candidate of the committee, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar cut him to size, saying that he should refrain from making a speech and the SGPC did not recognise the committee.

Mr Tohra, however, made it clear that he and his party recognised the committee and sprang a surprise by naming Sant Vir Singh Madhoke as the unanimous candidate of the opposition.

Earlier, Mr Zora Singh Mann, who incidentally proposed the names of all SAD nominees, proposed the name of Prof Badungar for defending his presidentship.

Prof Badungar wanted to conduct the meeting in a business like manner, not allowing any member to make a speech. He, however, made an exception for Mr Simranjit Singh Mann who decried the eviction of devotees from the Golden Temple serais by the police and the “VIP treatment” meted out to Badal supporters. He said while one group was backed by the BJP, the other was supported by the Congress. His group being a “minute minority”, was not able to do anything. The members of his group decided to monitor the situation and decided not to exercise their franchise.

Slogans were raised after Prof Badungar declared himself elected. Later in consultation with Mr Tohra, an 11-member executive committee was named which included seven members from the SAD and the rest from the opposition.

Soon after Prof Badungar and his team were declared elected, the supporters of the SAD descended on Teja Singh Samundari Hall and started raising pro-Badal and anti-Congress slogans.

A large number of SGPC members needed help to cast their votes. The reason they gave was that they were not able to write the name of the candidate they were supporting. The polling continued for almost two hours and counting took place about 10 minutes before the results were announced in the presence of the Sikh high priests, including the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Mr Joginder Singh Vedanti, and the Jathedar of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Bhai Manjit Singh, who performed the opening ardas and prayed for the unity and well-being of the Panth.



  • Steel barricades put up in all bazars surrounding the SGPC complex disappeared a few minutes after the conclusion of the SGPC elections. Residents and devotees heaved a sigh of relief.
  • The district administration which was determined to stop Mr Parkash Singh Badal from reaching Amritsar by imposing prohibitory orders, was courteous towards him after the victory of the SAD. Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu and Mr Narinder Pal Singh, District Magistrate and district police chief, respectively, along with senior government officials waited for him outside Teja Singh Samundari Hall, the venue for the elections.
  • For the first time, Zee TV and other channels made elaborate arrangements for the live coverage of the SGPC poll. Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar and newly elected office-bearers were giving interviews which were being telecast live.
  • The SHSAD, accused of accepting the support of the Congress, today charged the SAD with reaching a secret understanding with Capt Amarinder Singh. After the defeat of the party, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra alleged that his party fought against the Punjab Government, the Haryana Government and the Central Government.
  • During the proceedings of the general House, Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, sat near the stage and would snatch mike from SHSAD leaders, including Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, for speaking without the permission of the president.
  • When Mr Badungar announced that the ballot papers with “secret signs” would be declared invalid, Mr Tohra said members were allowed to prefix “sardar”, “shri” or anything before their names. The demand was, however, turned down.
  • For the first time in the 77-year history of the SGPC, two boxes, one big and another small, were placed for voting. The small box was kept for the 12 members who were restrained by the SGJC but allowed by the high court to cast their votes. The court had ordered that the box should be opened on November 26.
  • Slogans were raised outside Teja Singh Samundari Hall after Mr Darshan Singh Issapore and Mr Jasbir Singh Ghuman entered the hall. SAD supporters and Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal continued to raise slogans until they were asked to leave the hall.
  • Senior police officials from various parts of the state were here. Steel barricades belonging to the Chandigarh police, SAS Nagar police and that of other districts were seen at various entry points to the Golden Temple complex.
  • The SHSAD election agent, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, kept a close eye on those SGPC members who sought help at the time of casting their votes. He said no illiterate person could become a member of the SGPC and expressed surprise over the number of those who were unable to even write the name of the presidential candidates.
  • Mr Zora Singh Mann had a tiff with Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur but intervention by other members prevented the situation from taking an ugly turn.


Kiranjot Kaur dropped as general secretary
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 12
All previous office-bearers of the SGPC have been re-elected except Bibi Kiranjot Kaur who has been dropped as general secretary of the Sikh body.

Talking to the Press, she said she was “punished for honest, plain speaking”. She, however, refused to elaborate on the plea that mediapersons could make out what she wanted to convey.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal said that he did not want to disclose the reasons for dropping her as general secretary this time. He, however, said that he held Bibi Kiranjot Kaur in high esteem as she belonged to a family which had contributed a lot to the Panth.

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